Mayor's State of Metro highlights domestic partner benefits
In his seventh State of Metro address, Mayor Karl Dean continued three guiding principles for the city’s budget: keeping taxes low, prioritizing public services and continuing to invest in our future.
Part of investing in the future of Nashville included Mayor Dean highlighting the move for filing domestic partner benefits legislation. In his speech, Mayor Dean said:
To continue to provide high quality public services, Metro Government has to remain competitive for recruiting top talent. One area where we are behind the curve as a large employer is domestic partner benefits. The majority of large employers nationwide already offer these benefits, as do many city governments such as Austin, Louisville, Indianapolis and Knoxville, and at least four of the 10 largest private employers in Nashville. Offering a competitive level of benefits attracts and retains talented employees and is a smart way to do business.
Last fall, a clear majority of Metro Council members requested that we explore domestic partner benefits. As required for any significant change to our benefit system in Metro, we appointed a Study and Formulating Committee, which came back with a positive recommendation.
So today, I am pleased to announce that we will be filing domestic partner benefits legislation to track with the budget, and I am requesting the Benefit Board and the Metro Council to approve this change to our benefit system. Offering domestic partner benefits to our Metro employees is one more affirmation that we, as a city, respect individual dignity and embrace the differences among us.
The Metro Employee Benefit Board is scheduled to take up the issue in a study session on May 20 and a vote could be scheduled for June 3; Metro Council could hold its first reading on May 20.
The announcement comes as Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) ramps up support for its Same Work, Same Benefits campaign with local endorsements from Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce and OutCentral.
Nashville/Davidson County based businesses, community organizations, or congregations that would like to endorse partner benefits are asked to email TEP.
In October of last year, more than two dozen city council members sign a memo to Mayor Karl Dean’s office urging them to initiate the formation of a committee of the could ultimately lead to same-sex partner benefits for Metro-city employees.